Author: Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, NCSN, CNE; Deborah Davis BSN, MSN, MEd,
Title: Assistant Professor; Faculty
Institution: Xavier University
- Locate evidence reports related to clinical practice topics and guidelines.
- Explain the role of evidence in determining best clinical practices.
- Compare and contrast evidence-based practice (EBP) with actual practice.
- Value the concept of EBP as integral to determining best clinical practice.
- Develop scholarly writing skills.
- Seek necessary resources to complete the assignment.
We developed a scholarly paper assignment using Chris Tesch’s teaching strategy “Linking EBP with a Nursing Procedure” as the framework.” We assign junior students to choose a nursing intervention they have performed or have seen performed on their clinical unit. They are required to locate and make a copy of the policies, procedures or standards available in their clinical setting related to the intervention they observed. Using the information search strategies they have previously learned, as well as, available resources, they locate the best-published evidence related to the intervention they observed. Students then write a scholarly paper that thoroughly describes the policy and procedure, synthesizes the best evidence, compares and contrasts the written policy with the best evidence, and discusses their reflection concerning what they found, their ease or difficulty in locating evidence and anticipated challenges implementing the best evidence.
We are sure to include detailed instructions required to complete the paper as well as helpful hints for scholarly writing and APA formatting. We require that students submit a self-evaluation of their paper using the instructor’s rubric. Requiring the self-evaluation assures us they are familiar with the criteria with which they will be evaluated.
Informatics is emphasized with this assignment. First, computer and information literacy skills are both necessary to complete the assignment. In addition, students are encouraged to use high quality information sources. Examples of these sources are provided in the description of
Papers are graded using the rubric created for this assignment. Students can earn up to 4 points in each of the 15 categories resulting in 60 possible total points. The percentage grade for the paper is then calculated by adding up the number ofpoints the student earned in each category and dividing this number by the 60 total possible points.
Grading these papers can be a wearisome and time intensive challenge, but one we think is important in facilitating student learning. It is apparent that students have had limited exposure to writing scholarly papers using an APA format in their previous courses. We are hopeful this assignment aids in developing scholarly writing skills that students will in turn use when they are in practice, reviewing and developing policies and procedures.
Students admit they learn much from completing this assignment. They find the APA format challenging, but learn the importance of using the APA book to follow directions. Students comment on their surprise with the difficulty they had in locating current best evidence and nursing research. Students state they thought nurses had more evidence for the interventions they performed. Some admit to experiencing difficulty using the nursing search engines and knowing which key terms to use to yield useful articles. They learn being creative and persistent are key when searching the literature. Students report they appreciate going through the process of locating policies, procedures and standards in the clinical setting and think this will be helpful later in practice.
We discuss their findings during a conference provided in the assignment description. When students who used the suggested resources (the librarian, faculty, and the writing center tutors) voice how helpful the resources were in completing the project, fellow students who failed to take advantage of those resources hear about the benefits of teamwork and collaboration. Students also report that nurses do not always follow policies and this assignment gives them the opportunity to reflect on how that might influence patient outcomes.